As the NHS emerges from its toughest winter yet, attention has been focused on the impact of older people on the health system. But younger people (up to the age of 24) are also frequent users of emergency care and, like older people, require specialist care. This QualityWatch report, ‘Focus on: Emergency hospital care for children and young people’, shows changes in patterns of use over time and provides the basis for discussion about the quality of care for children and young people.

The report analyses Hospital Episode Statistics from 2006/07 to 2015/16, giving a picture of how children and young people used emergency care at NHS hospitals over the past 10 years, what conditions they needed care for, and what may be happening to care quality in some areas.

It finds that some age groups saw significant rises in emergency admissions, and many children were hospitalised for conditions that could be treated in other settings. The report, therefore, also raises questions about where children and young people can access high quality treatment outside the hospital emergency care setting.

The report and a research summary are available from the QualityWatch website at